asked the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received about access to the M11 motorway from central London; and if he will make a statement.
Representations have been received from hon. Members and motorists. Improvements in signing to the M11 have been made in recent months and will continue to be made in conjunction with the Greater London Council.
Is the Minister aware that it takes between half an hour and one and a half hours, according to the time of day, to reach the southern end of the M11 from central London? In those circumstances, is it not irresponsible to claim that as a result of the construction of the M11 there is easy access from Stansted airport to London? Has the Department any plans to improve access to the M11?
Yes. As part of the programme that has been announced, partly in conjunction with our inner city package it is proposed to build extensions to the south of the M11—the link between South Woodford and Hackney Wick on the one hand, and South Woodford and Barking on the other. Those are programmed to begin between 1981 and 1983. This will help the problem, which is a difficult one, because we are talking about a heavily built-up area.
Is my hon. Friend aware that any proposal to extend motorways further into inner London will meet with a great deal of opposition?
We must take that perfectly legitimate view and weigh it against the fact that there are many communities in inner London, particularly in East London, who feel the need for some connection with the motorway system in order to encourage commercial development. We must balance both those viewpoints.
Will the Minister ensure that he does not signpost, or allow the GLC to signpost, heavy lorry traffic bound for the M11 through residential streets in the London borough of Waltham Forest?
That is precisely the problem which has led to some delay in adequate signs being put up for the M11. There is the problem of where the signs go, because wherever one puts them one is bound to affect someone's environment adversely.